One startup, one story: how image recognition technology can unmask real consumer patterns via social media. Let’s meet Brand Pit.

TT Chu was starting a designer fashion brand at home in Singapore, manufacturing Oxford-style men’s shirts. He wanted to gain insight into how his customers were wearing his shirts by searching using the hashtag of the brand name. He quickly discovered that 90% of photos shared online are not

tagged or attributed keywords, making that impossible. Every brand manager he spoke to was similarly frustrated – so he set about finding a solution.

A decisive encounter

At the same time, May Yamaura was working as a digital marketer in the United States. She was dissatisfied with textbased analytics for consumer insights, noting that visual experiences are slowly replacing text as the communication medium on social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram.

TT and May met through mutual friends in Japan, and began discussing the massive potential of image-based analytics. With support from IBM, Amazon and Google – who offered them free credit for data crunching – they began to build a technology platform in 2013, and in 2015 they launched visual marketing research tool Brand Pit.

Using artificial intelligence

Using artificial intelligence and image recognition technologies, Brand Pit extracts information directly from photos and videos shared on social media, identifying brands and their context. By tapping into the exact moment of consumption, Brand Pit is able to analyze how, where, and by whom products are being consumed. For example, Brand Pit analysis showed Corona that 15% of their consumers are female, aged in their 20s, often drinking at the waterfront with friends.

Brand Pit sells consumer behavior analysis reports to brands and advertising agencies. This valuable insight has enabled clients such as LVMH and Unilever to adjust their marketing and advertising strategies – and maximize their investments.

The company now has 20 employees working in Japan, Hong Kong and Paris. They set up in France after winning the French Tech Ticket Global Startup competition, rejecting efforts to woo them to the United Kingdom after deciding that London was too expensive.

The helpful French Tech ecosystem

They have found the French Tech ecosystem kind and helpful, and Paris an inspirational base. The beauty of the city, its culture, art and history feel like the natural home for a business focusing on innovation, visual impact and creativity. It’s also an important center for luxury brands, with most of Brand Pit’s clients being in food, beverages and fashion.

The French Tech ticket program has already helped Brand Pit establish valuable connections with companies and research institutes focusing on artificial intelligence for further R&D. The founders add that they are impressed with the vibrant talent pool, which will help grow their business as it looks to expand into other European countries.

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